What to Expect at ERC for an Arizona Divorce

By Elizabeth Rayne

In Arizona, many couples avoid the cost and uncertainty of going to trial to obtain a divorce by attending an Early Resolution Conference. Arizona courts may require couples to attend an ERC, where a neutral third party assists the couple in figuring out a divorce settlement both spouses can live with. When the couple cannot agree, it will be up to the judge to determine the terms of the divorce.

Overview

After one spouse has filed for divorce in Arizona, the court may refer the couple to an Early Resolution Conference, particularly if the spouses do not have attorneys and are representing themselves. An ERC may be the first step in a divorce and occurs before the trial or any pre-trial hearings. Both spouses must attend. The ERC is not run by the judge, but instead a neutral third party. At the ERC, the spouses talk through the issues of the case to see if they can come to an agreement for spousal maintenance, property division, and child custody and support.

Consent Decree

When the judge orders an ERC, it is mandatory for the couple to attend unless they submit a Consent Decree. If one spouse does not attend, he may have to pay a No Show fee or the divorce case may move to default proceedings, meaning the spouse who showed up essentially decides the terms of the divorce decree. The couple may submit a Consent Decree to avoid attending an ERC, but only if they agree to all the terms of the divorce, including property division, spousal maintenance, child support, custody and parenting time. The Consent Decree must include a data sheet with information about each spouse, details about the agreement and a parenting plan if the couple has children.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

ERC Agreements

Prior to attending an ERC, you and you spouse must submit a Resolution Statement, which outlines your ideal divorce settlement. Once at the ERC, you can expect the meeting to last between two and three hours. The neutral party, often a family law case manager, will help the spouses reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce. If the couples are able to agree, the case manager will help the couple fill out the paperwork to outline the agreements. Sometimes couples agree on certain terms of the divorce and not on others during an ERC.

Unsettled Issues

If the couple is unable to reach an agreement on issues that came up during the ERC, the remaining disputes will be settled at trial. At the trial, each spouse may present evidence to support their claims for financial settlements or custody arrangements. The judge will hear the evidence and determine the appropriate terms of the divorce, later finalized in the official divorce decree signed by the judge.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Uncontested Divorce in Illinois
 

References

Related articles

Virginia State Laws on Divorce Settlements

The divorce process in Virginia allows spouses to negotiate their own divorce settlement and submit it for court approval. If a couple chooses to write their own settlement agreement, they can likely avoid a divorce trial in front of a Virginia circuit court. However, before the court may approve the settlement and finalize the divorce, the court must confirm that the settlement meets the state law requirements for a valid agreement.

What Is a Stipulated Divorce in Wisconsin?

Divorce can become a complicated, time-consuming process if spouses cannot agree on key legal issues and must have a contested trial. However, some spouses can agree on the terms of their divorce for themselves without court intervention. In Wisconsin, a stipulated divorce is a divorce approved by the court after the spouses write a stipulation — a complete agreement without remaining contested issues — on their own. The option of a stipulated divorce is similar to "uncontested divorce" in other states.

How to Complete a Friendly Divorce

It's not unheard of that two people decide to forego the screaming, crying and gnashing of teeth that often goes hand-in-hand with divorce. It is possible, however, that two people can agree to leave their marriage with maturity, and preserve what they can of their friendship -- either for themselves or their children. Once you've made the decision to move forward in the spirit of cooperation, some approaches exist for you to choose from that may help you complete a friendly divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Happens in a Divorce Mediation in Miami, Florida?

Peace is to war what mediation is to litigation. When you or your spouse files for divorce in Miami, you have the ...

90 Day Cooling Off Period for a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires a 90-day "cooling off" period for no-fault or "mutual consent" divorces, which provides an ...

What Happens at a Mandatory Divorce Settlement Conference in California?

In California, judges can order mandatory divorce settlement conferences. These conferences are held between the ...

What Happens at Divorce Mediation in California?

If you don't want a judge deciding the outstanding issues between you and your spouse, the solution is to come to an ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED